The 7 Day Christian: by Brad Wilcox

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The 7 Day Christian: by Brad Wilcox

-not merely what would Jesus do, but what would Jesus have me do.
-book “UnChristian” on modern labeling of Christians as bad people; how people are feeling afraid to admit Christianity and fearing social jeopardy from such.
-Universities are banning Christian groups
-Belief in God effects motivation at the core.
-Being able to speak of God’s existence – that itself separates us from plants and animals.  (humans are a special creation unique from the rest)
-Deep human emotion and interrelations go beyond explanations of evolution, survival of the fittest, and self-awareness.
-How know God loves us? Because he allows everyone freedom of choose. Hence he is caring rather than controlling.
-Freedom is risky and painful but needed for progression and fulfillment.
-God respects our choices so much that he doesn’t make it obvious that he exists. He wants us to want to believe.
-Without grounds for doubt as well as belief, it’s not our own choice to believe, and doesn’t reflect our self character. (see book by Terryl Givens “The God who Weeps”)
-Believers in  God see the location of sun and moon and earth and electrons etc. just in place to allow life as too good to be coincidences of good fortune.
-to non-believers, a chain of random events causing life is more reasonable than a belief in God.
-God values our freedom enough to let us make a choice between believing in him or not (He doesn’t compel you by overbearing facts and evidence easily had).
-God has given us freedom and capacity; He wills us to use our freedom to develop our capacity.
-God wants us not to merely live at random, but to draw nearer to Him.
-We can’t design God; we can only seek to know who God is and allow him to influence us.
-We can come to know God by following Jesus (Matt. 16:24; Luke 9:23; John 7:17) and life eternal is to know God (John 17:3).
-God doesn’t want this life to be an endless guessing game/debate, but for us to know truth for ourselves.
-The truest knowing comes in the doing.
-Repenting and obeying aren’t replacements for faith, but extensions of it.
-“Obedience is the inevitable characteristic of those who are saved” (John F. MacArthur Jr., “Faith Works”)
-Faithless people see commandments as inconveniences or pointless burdens. Faithful see them as divine gifts from a loving God who is helping us to know Him.
-a bungee jumper needs a tight harness to keep him alive. Without it, he may feel more free but that will be very temporary. If he does use the harness, he is free do do more bungeeing in the future, tell people about it, etc. Thus are God’s commandments, like the harness. So we are free BECAUSE of the harness, not in spite of it.
-God doesn’t spend his time wondering if we exist; he knows it and spends his efforts in shaping us. Ask and receive (Matt. 7:7).
-Some say we can believe in God but not KNOW. Jesus said otherwise: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32).
-The more we know God the more we love him and desire to serve and emulate him.
-God  is more of an educator than a grader.
-Working technique of who taught him to write: To learn to write, simply practice real writing to a real audience and have someone to help you go over it and critique it. Always submit for publication and into all contests you hear about.
-He was blessed by a high school teacher threatening to fail whoever in their class wouldn’t enter into a national writing contest.
-Steven R Covey told him “Any author’s best book is his own life.”
-It’s easier to align you behaviors with your beliefs when you feel a sense of urgency mission and integrity.
-Steven Covey said people who do good now are who will continue to in life, but who wait to be rich to do good usually don’t. Jon M. Huntsman Sr. is a good example of this. he said, “If you cannot give when you have little, you will not be likely to give when you have everything.” (See book J Michael Pinnegar, “The Lord’s Good’s”)
-Satan tries to get people to disbelieve in God, but also tries to get those who do believe in God to think that there is no hurry (urgency to do God’s work).
-Have a sense of mission. Don’t merely have a career in big money or you may have a midlife crisis and seek to change your career. If you do as you feel is your mission you won’t have a midlife crisis trying to change career, you won’t have time for that. You’ll see big houses and cars can’t satisfy.
-Martin Luther King Jr. must be us set that of the 14 statements on the monument of him commemorating his life, not one of them mention God. One of the statements says the word “righteousness”, and people get very upset about that non-politically correct term on there.
-We are better off trying to live God’s truth rather than trying to redefine it.
-Integrity is connected to justice in acknowledgement that good and evil aren’t defined by popular vote. (pg. 28)
-People say lust greed pride wrath envy and slothfulness aren’t necessarily good or evil, but that it merely depends on how you look at it, on how you perceive them. (See book “No Laughing Matter?” By Paul Yensing Yee).
-Some values aren’t just subjective. They don’t just pertain to “my opinion/my religion”. They are intrinsically good. They aren’t me telling people to do things my way, they are rather the inherently good ways. For example: charity, forgiveness, honesty, love, hard work, service, excellence. (See book “The Team & The Trophy pg 29-130)
-Justice demands that no one is above God’s law, no matter how entitled they may feel.
-Justice is connected to peace, we can’t feel peace if we’re living a double standard. Peace comes from the Latin “pax” meaning “agreement”. So we must live the same each day, public or private. Warring countries enjoy peace when they agree to stop fighting. We have peace when our actions agree with our values.
-Righteousness is not just about doing the right thing but doing it for the right reason.
-Integrity fears no hidden cameras.
-We feel peace when we know the size of our audience makes no difference in the quality of our performance.
-Christian acts seen only by Christ are the ones which make us most like Him.
-Integrity demands righteousness, and righteousness demands that we continually educate and elevate our desires and motives.
-Sports fans oft cross the line between passion and stupidity and forget about making peace and the golden rule.
-Checking your religion at the door is leaving your source of strength.
-Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone pg. 299 speaks of love so deep evil doesn’t want to be near it, and which endows protection upon people.
-see Book “Not Ashamed” by Wendy Ulrich
-Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables” is like Christ, descending beneath all things to save us. Jean goes through the sewers to save the person his daughter loves. He prayed “Bring him home!” Christ says that prayer for us before the Father.
-Example is given about how one person needed inside a building it raining and they having a child with them. They prayed that the person on the inside would realize this and come get the door. But the person inside wouldn’t come. So the parent had to climb a large fence, leaving their child behind wondering where it’s parent had gone. A while later the person had gotten inside the building. They spoke to the person who was inside. The inside person said they had received strong promptings to go outside and check on things, but said to himself that rather he would finish where he was in the book he was reading. This ignoring the prompting was bad. It also shows that God answers our prayers by prompting others to act, but at times they ignore those promptings.
-Sam in “Lord of the Rings” in Peter Jackson’s film about “The Fellowship of the Ring” demonstrates commitment to a promise. He wouldn’t leave Frodo alone because he promised to Gandalf he would not. He does this at great peril, swimming when he doesn’t know how to swim, etc.
-One college class assignment was to write the name of Christ on a paper then put it on the floor and stomp on it. One boy would not. He said it was unprofessional and offensive. He decided to speak to the higher up’s about it so future classes wouldn’t have to suffer this. The higher up’s rebuked the student. Media reporters found out, and published about this. The local governor (of Florida) also found out, and said that the boy was doing well in standing up for what he believes in and being courageous. The school offered a public apology. So this boy rather than stomping on Jesus, stood for Jesus. Whatever that professor was trying to teach, it’s drown out by the message this student has taught. The student said that it was an easy deception to not stomp on Jesus because of a commitment to Christ he had made earlier on in his life.
-Sincere has two spanish parts: sin means without, sera means wax. So sincere means without wax. Sincere also comes from Latin “clean, pure, sound”. Sculptors would cover the mistakes in their art with wax. The buyer would take the piece home, and when it became hot, the wax would melt away and show all the imperfections in the art that he didn’t think were there when he purchased it.
-Christ isn’t just working on us but with us and throughout us.
-Christ helps us more beyond external appearances and self acceptance and preoccupation with ourselves, and he helps us influence others in ways that go beyond our wildest expectations.
-The goal isn’t to merely hide our flaws and look better, but to actually become better.
-We live in a world that seems to admire “being yourself” more than “improving yourself”.
-Some of the most miserable people I know are the ones who’ve accepted themselves just the way they are, and refuse to change.
-One boy with many tattoos all over his body said “I’m just being unique.” But he was simply comforting to a current fad image. He didn’t stand out, he blended in. Instead of leaving his mark on the world, he was letting the world leave it’s mark on him.
-The world says define yourself, but Christ says refine yourself (Matt. 5:48).
-Choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.
-As Christians our task is not so much to be ourselves as it is to become like The Savior.
-Jesus said some people are like bright sepulchers but with dead bones and uncleanness on the inside. We need not march about saying “This is simply how I am, unclean and with dead bones. You must accept that about me.” We may not be able to change, but as we humbly turn to Christ, he can change us to be truly better, not just looking better. (Jer. 18:6 we are the clay in his hands)
-God loves you as you are, but it’s like our love for infants. We love infants, but we want them to learn to walk and talk and reach their full potential.
-Like Jesus, engage with others in the world even as we distance ourselves from worldliness.
-To have kindness, we need someone to perform it on. For patience, we need someone to call it from us. Salvation was meant to be a collaborative experience. This is hard to remember at times because our generation prefers spirituality to religion, hence we can become more self absorbed.
-Jesus didn’t teach love of self, but love and acceptance of God and others.
-1 person influencing another can have a ripple effect and reach billions.
-Jesus never traveled more than a few hundred miles from home. He never wrote a bestseller. He never held political office. He never had any school degrees. Yet see his impact! (From speech of Dr. Allen Francis, “Arise, Sir Knight!”)
-We can’t have a mere goal to change the world, Hitler and Genghis Khan did that. Rather, we must change the world for good as Jesus did.
-In hard moments, keep patience when others don’t. Thank those who help you in even little things.
-Are acts of service so rare in this world that people think you’re an angel for helping them? Are expressions of gratitude so rare that they bring tears to the eyes? We have a shortage of goodness going on, for these things are occurring a lot for even little things.
-Weather or not our actions effect many, they help someone via Christ, and in that process, we become more like Christ.
-Sharing gifts of kindness with others the results will always go beyond expectations.
-The kind of people we are is more important than what we can do to improve the world. It actually is  the best and sometimes only way we can improve the world. (Richard John Neuhaus in “C.S. Lewis in the Public Square”).
-Don’t seek to expose yourself to others, but to expose Christ to them.
-Children have full buckets of water they carry (containing wisdom, love, happiness, deep trusting faith in God, a sense of worth, inner sense to do right). Then in the teen years, some of that water is knocked out, and even more is knocked out as an adult, then we see many standing around with empty buckets. (see Donald O. Clifton “How full is your bucket?”). God refills our buckets as we live the gospel. He said unless we are as children we cannot inherit the kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 18:3)
-As children we obey parents, and as children kneel in prayer, they know God in his vast universe has nothing better to do than to listen to them.
-Self pity is the worst disease.
-Each baby has a full bucket of sense of worth, they feel like gold as Isaiah says (Isa. 13:12). They don’t merely do as the cool people do. They don’t concern themselves with which brand name diaper they are wearing.
-Children of all economic situations don’t wait for happiness, they create it!
-Happiness is promised to all who walk in the Lord’s ways (Psalm 128:1-2). Happiness is not based on looks, popularity, or possessions!
-Happiness is a city in the state of mind.
-Some children haven’t ever been told that you can have happiness while still having problems. Tell them about this.
-However much we think we are loving children, they’re loving us more. They have immense capacity to freely share their hearts.
-Children are wise. They say no harmful drugs, no loneliness, no war bullies or hunger. We must, as Jesus commanded, copy that clear wisdom. It’s about right or wrong, black and white. Then sadly, as we grow older, people convince us that there are gray areas.
People’s desire to cancel war gets interrupted by debate on economics or upcoming elections.
-Duty to God means we have jobs to do for Jesus (as one child put it).
-When children have been taught about God, their buckets spontaneously are filled with faith.
-When we settle for following rules rather than following the Savior, we won’t have full faith buckets.
-If we feel we’ve had too many hurts or mistakes in life, we must re-discover childlike faith.
-C.S. Lewis’ book series “Chronicles of Narnia” has “Aslan the great lion” who represents Christ in submitting himself to abuse and death to save his friends. In the his book “Prince Caspian”, one of the later ones in the series, one of the children grows too old to be returning to Narnia. She is sad about how she will miss seeing Aslan. But Aslan tells her that she can see him in the other world too, and that he had been bringing her to Narnia so she could learn to recognize him in the other world. This book series has taught many children more of recognizing and responding to the individual love, concern, noble and brave actions of Jesus Christ.
-There is a spiritual side of our nature which cannot be overlooked without serious consequences.
-Despite critics, organized religion helps us to find and live at a higher level.
-Some say faith is a weakness, others say it’s a source of inner strength.
-Adult business world etc. has peer pressures similar to the ones experienced as children, like fitting in and acceptance.
-Fear not (Luke 1:13, 30; 2:10; Rev. 1:17)
-when people mocked Jesus for his teachings and miracles, he didn’t stop doing what he knew is right.
-when in the right lane, you must turn right. There is no other choice. It’s the same with followers of Christ. They must follow Christ (do what He did and would do). We are committed to Christ (John 6:68-69). But there are many in the right lane who won’t turn right… turning left when you are in the right lane can bring serious consequences. Turning away from Christ always has serious consequences.
-see book “Tito Momen and Jeff Benedict: My Name Used to be Muhammad” about a man who was persecuted much for doing from Islam to Christianity, including his family holding a public funeral for him and being tortured in jail for 15 years on false charges because of his religion, and his mother committing suicide because of his conversion and the rest of his family disowning him.
-true Christians stay with Christ even when their finances are lost because of it and public humiliation comes. Those who fall away from Christ in these circumstances of crisis were probably never genuinely Christians in the first place. (See book, “Am I really a Christian?”)
-Lot’s wife, by longing for Sodom and Gomorra and what they had to offer, chose to be a pillar of salt (Gen. 19:17) rather than how she could have become the salt of the earth, to make all things on earth better in the spiritual sense. (Matt. 5:13).
-“Many people in the world believe in God; some even express great love and gratitude for Him. But few are willing to put their time, talents, and treasure where their mouths are.”
-When you know Jesus Christ is our Savior, your life can never be the same again.
-Our relationship with God is incredibly personal, and it requires faith at each level.
-Have faith in God, not just that he can bless and save us, but that he knows the best way to bless and save us.
-Research Polykarp, a 2nd century bishop in Smyrna who refused to deny Christ even at threat of being burned to death. Legend has it that the flames would not kill him as he was tied up being burned, so a man came forth and stabbed him. He wasn’t delivered like Daniel in flames, but the faith of these people wasn’t just that God would always deliver them. It was that God had not only ability to save them, but that God had perfect methods, which they trusted, no matter outcomes of this life.
-God can be with you even in prison for sins you are guilty of as you turn to Him.
-in the right lane, you can’t leave even when the road is uphill and difficult. There are roads that exit out into a U-turn, but we can’t take those, they don’t lead us to where we want to be.
-see book “A Time to Choose” By Elder Neal A Maxwell.
-“If we are serious about our discipleship, Jesus will eventually request each of us to do those things which are the most difficult for us to do” (A Time To Choose by Maxwell).
-Elder Maxwell saw going through cancer as a tutoring and refining time. Others who go through this curse God. He said of it, “Adversity can squeeze out of us the [remaining] hypocrisy that’s there.  [So for me,] it’s been a great spiritual adventure, one I would not want to have missed….And even though this has [ had high costs], it’s been a great blessing” (Disciple’s Life, 558-59)
– 1 + God = The Majority
-Tell your employer that you’ll work so hard the other 6 days of the week that he won’t need you to work Sunday.
-Put on the armor of God, and fear will run and hide.
-Be more concerned about pleasing those who do know you, like your Heavenly Father, and family, and less about pleasing who don’t know you (the world).
-Book “Living in but not of the world” by Sharlene Hawkes
-Some laugh and point finders, but being pointed out shouldn’t bother anyone who is pointed in the right direction.
-They laughed at Noah, but it was them who missed the boat!
-When people think you’re crazy for living your beliefs, so thought they of Paul and other scripture characters.
-You’re not the only one who has been pushed to the limit by peer pressure. Remember that when the pressure gets high, there are others who have come off successful too (*like Jesus Christ and many others, see the scriptures and Church history and journals of your family etc.)
-Christianity doesn’t bring restriction, but independence. Not deprivation but total fulfillment.
-See book “Plain Honest Men”. Speaks of USA founders flaring contentions and passionate debates but still met in evenings for dinner as friends. Likewise we can set aside other differences to work together in causes.
-We think people watch us more than they do. They’re usually too worried of themselves to criticize you.
-Who ridicule and exclude others or use social manipulation do so to hide their not feeling good about themselves. They get people to laugh at others so they’ll not notice their (the bullies’) problems.
-Many yell to cover up for how they have nothing to say.
-Who don’t think much of you usually think even less of themselves.
-Who mock others for high test scores do so to cover how they don’t attain such.
-Derive strength from your real accomplishments, even if others are ahead of you in some ways, be truthful about yourself and do good with that.
-When we live our standards with confidence, others will follow us.
-Faith is to fear what light is to darkness, they can’t coexist.
-Media can be vultures who want to pick people apart.
-It’s no wonder our faith in Christ can replace each fear, because he (Christ, in whom we put our faith) always acted without fear.
-Choosing to be a 7 day Christian is choosing to be changed.
-Earth had a process of creation which we now emulate: formed, divided, enlightened, beautified, filled with life, rested.
-True change only occurs as God works in and though us. He is the potter, we the clay (Isa. 64:8).
-A personal fitness trainer told him when he said he didn’t think he could afford fitness training to help his obesity, “you can’t afford not to do this, think of the difference it will make in your life!” He considered how he had been able to help provide for his children in these matters (instrument lessons, braces for teeth, etc) and decided to do some of that for himself.
-God can help us divide our past from our future, and truth from rationalizations and excuses.
-Diet and exercise can’t be events which we do to get back to our normal life. We rather need a lifestyle change. All or nothing mentality is evidence that our plans are short term.
-Started running (one of his worst fears) 30 seconds per day, then 1 minute, 2, 3, 4, 5, then prepared for a 5 kilometer run for Thanksgiving day.
-Most helpful in the change process is one who cares for us and keeps us accountable.
-Also he memorized scriptures and recited them to himself while he ran to distract himself.
-Gen. 1:16-17 Shows that even from it’s beginning, earth has never been left in the dark. Some light even is manifest at night.
-Satan is not capable of love.
-Light from God doesn’t always reveal distant landscapes, sometimes it’s just enough to get us through one day at a time.
-Like God opening rather than removing the Red Sea, he can help us through our trials.
-We never arrive quickly at any destination worth reaching. Strength too easily won isn’t really strength at all.
-We need to be in competition with our own skills and speed, not that of others.
-We live in a society where beauty is defined and articulated in artificial and negative ways.
-Eating disorders damage us physically mentally and spiritually.
-Cosmetics and fashions are powerful trend setters as well as profitable business (they’re thus manipulatory).
-Matthew 6:28-30 Jesus defines beauty as how something is in it’s natural state which God placed it in.
-Matt. 7:16 the Savior used fruit to represent all that is good and nourishing.
-When we take care of our bodies we’re more able to focus outward rather than inward on ourselves in self-consciousness.
– (Public) Education develops civility as it’s a way of being with people (see Christian Religious Education by Thomas Groome pg 137)
-Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers (ALER) is a good example of a place where you’re not forced to other peoples’ opinions but there is respect for each other there.
-there are more commonalities that unite us than there are differences that divide us.
-being civil with each other helps to maximize the contributions we both give.
-one middle school student, seeing that people who wouldn’t swear in elementary school now began to swear, started a “No Cussing Club” to stand up against this. He suffered for this, but it was a noble cause. More than 100 teens signed up for the club to take the pledge to not swear. He made a website called nocussing.com, people all across the country started joining. This boy became known as the most cyber bullied person. Adults infiltrated his website and put profanity and vulgarity on it. He received bomb threats. Police cars had to be put outside his home for protection. All because he stood up for not swearing!
-“Every action in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those present….Use no reproachful language against anyone, neither curses nor reviling” (George Washington, in William J. Bennett, The Spirit of America, 152-153).
-Be humble. This country is from people who cared more about advancing liberty than about advancing themselves.
-Founding Fathers would bend and compromise where possible, and when they absolutely couldn’t agree, they would still listen to the other point of view in a civil way and agree to disagree. (See book “Plain, Honest Men”)
-“the first test of a truly great man is his humility… I do not mean, by humility, doubt of his own power….[Truly] great men…have a curious…feeling that…greatness is not in them, but through them….And they see something Divine…in every man they meet, and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibly merciful” (19th Century English author John Ruskin, see “The Works of John Ruskin, 5:331)
-Paul taught the whole body needs each other in 1 Cor. 12:20-27, we should replace the word I with the word we more often.
-One boy had a disability which would not allow him to play on his High School basketball team. He was allowed to be the team manager and watched the games from the stands, but one day his coach allowed him to play in the game. In his excitement the boy threw the ball out of bounds. The opposing team was behind, but instead of passing it to one of their team, they threw the ball to the disabled boy after calling his name. The disabled boy then made a point. It was a moment he will always cherish. (See the actual footage at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCOyhqKRrv4)
-Christ’s teachings, life, and example are not only timely, but timeless. We can show this to others by standing together for good causes.
-“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” (C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”, 142)
-Speaking of some people who don’t internalize their religion, “[They go] to church on Sunday and [have] a veneer of religion, but [their] religion is basically an add-on to the same way of life the world lives, not a transforming power….They are cultural Christians. Religion is a formal, external thing. There has been no true inner awakening” (John Piper: “Finally Alive” pg 13, 17)
-The gospel net gathers all kinds, not all Christians are Christian in their behaviors.
-Speaking of the grace of Jesus Christ, “The world can do almost anything as well as or better than the church. You need not be a Christian to build houses, feed the hungry, or heal the sick. There is only one thing the world cannot do. It cannot offer grace.” (as quoted by Philip Yancey, “What’s so amazing about Grace?” pg 15)
-The fact that Jesus Christ was risen from the dead, resurrected, doesn’t just impact the hereafter, it impacts what we are here after. It can change you now, not just later. It can effect “our choices, our loves, our priorities, and our ways of reaching our potential”.
-Those who understand the resurrection of Christ (and live the gospel) have an experience of peace and perspective when a loved one dies, those who don’t are known to rather experience despair and hopelessness at such times. Yes, Christians know that the passing of our loved ones is NOT FINAL.
-The question in Job 14:14 “If a man die, shall he live again?” Has been asked for centuries. That question was answered. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22)
-C.S. Lewis, like Paul, recalls the event where he became converted.  He was on a ride to the zoo. When he began he didn’t believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. When he arrived, he did. His friend J.R.R. Tolkien had been speaking to him at college about Christianity. Lewis grew up in a Christian home but decided at age 15 to be an atheist because religion seemed to be a chore.  It wasn’t an emotional or deep thinking moment when his conversion to Christianity happened, he describes it as a time like when awakening from a deep sleep, and realizing that you are now awake. (See “Suprized by Joy” by C.S. Lewis pg. 237)
-Sometimes suffering comes because of our choices, other times because of the choices of others, other times from no one’s choices but rather accidents, other times merely because “this earth journey includes devastating storms and deadly diseases.”
-Take Jesus’ words personally.
-To you have have terminal illness and everyone else: Don’t be living to die, but dying to live
-His mother with cancer was asked when she felt like Christ stepped in to help with the burden. She said he was there the whole time carrying the full burden.
-His mother got dementia at age 88. Despite not knowing who people were she was always kind to them. Despite not knowing what day it was she always prayed daily with unshakable faith.
-Christ’s sacrifice must be for the same reason why parents sacrifice for their children, to give them a better life.
-“We cannot resurrect ourselves. We cannot wipe away our own sins and skepticism. We cannot reach into our own broken hearts and heal them. All these are gifts of grace.”
-It’s not just that “God helps those who help themselves.” It’s bigger than that. It’s that “God helps us to help ourselves.”
-We don’t just “say grace” at the dinner table, like an offering we give to him, rather we “receive grace” from Him.
-If you feel you have fallen from grace, you have yet to learn that grace is something that catches you and lifts you up.
-“Do your best and let God do the rest” can be an overwhelming saying to perfectionists. Rather than only seeing responsibilities, grace helps us to see possibilities. Grace isn’t light at the end of the tunnel, it’s light that can surround us as we travel through the tunnel.
-“You will never be righteous enough to please God. But thankfully, Christ’s perfect righteousness becomes ours when we come to him in faith.” (Mike McKinley, “Am I Really a Christian? Pg 27) (*compare with scripture saying “My peace I leave with you”. This means that the level of peace we can experience is the level of peace of Jesus Christ. What level of peace is that? It’s the amount of peace you would have if you had never committed a single sin in your life. That is the definition and source of the peace of Jesus Christ. Now, THAT is the gift he is giving to YOU for coming unto Him.)
-We may doubt our own abilities, but we can’t doubt Christs abilities. So we turn to Him. It’s through his power that we can repent of our sins and strive to live his commandments.
-“We are being changed, even if slowly, from one degree of humility and love to the next” (John Piper, “Finally Alive” pg 21)
-Many who label themselves as Christian today have given up trying. But the mark of real believers is that they never stop trying to emulate the life of Christ.
-We act (to obey God) because we are enabled by grace. “The same Christ who gives commands to obey is also the One who empowers us to obey.”
-“The grace that saves us is also the grace that changes us.”
-Matthew 25 has the parable of the talents. Some multiplied their talents and were called “good and faithful.” The one who did nothing with his talent was called “wicked and slothful.” This is life using the grace that God gives us. It’s more about changing people than getting more money. The description words Jesus uses for these people can be “not harsh words spoken in anger but realistic descriptions of attributes the third servant should have and could have changed. He had been given all he needed, but he had done nothing with it. Had he depended on God’s grace, surely he could have become “good and faithful” like the others.” Hence it could be that “the slothful servant allowed to enter (and become a ruler)  was not because of being punished  but because he was unprepared.” The Lord, perhaps, was making rulers all along. This person wouldn’t participate in the development process. “The term ruler may not have been a prize or title the servants were given as much as a description of who, through God’s grace, they had become.”
-Some who came to Christ fell away. Others became his disciples. “These faithful knew that the true end of all Christians is not simply to come to Christ but to become Christlike.”
-Focus on how Jesus has come unto us rather than how we need to come unto Jesus. He has open arms toward all of us.
-“Christ is the means for resurrection, forgiveness and increased faith, peace amid pain, and transformation through it all.”
-“Christ doesn’t just want people in the church. He wants the church in the people. He doesn’t just want people to acknowledge His grace. He wants them to be transformed through it. He doesn’t just want people to come to Him. He wants them to become like Him-a process that takes place 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, and throughout all the years of our lives.”

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